Cognition and Law psyb3 aqa

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Cognition and Law
Recognising and remembering faces-
Processes involved in recognising faces-
Face identification- looking at a person's face and knowing who it is
Face recognition- knowing the face is one we have seen before
Face recall- when, from memory, we try to verbally describe a face, draw a face or
form a mental image of the face
Explanations for face recognition-
Feature analysis theory:
Bottom-up approach
Analysing individual features is the key to recognising faces
Woodhead study- if faces were stored as features. Participants who had undergone
the feature training course were less able to identify a `wanted criminal' than control
participants, suggesting individual facial features are less important for face
recognition and that perhaps faces as stored as a whole.
Some empirical evidence supports it
Neglects importance of other information, e.g. facial expressions
Does not explain why altering the configuration of faces interferes with
Holistic form theory:
Top-down approach
Recognising a face requires stored semantic and emotional information
Young and Hay- demonstrate importance of layout or configuration in processing
faces. Famous faces cut in half. Participant recognition times were recorded. Halves
were combined in non-matching pairs (composites). Recognition longer when
composites were added together. Overall layout is equally important, if not more.
Bruce and Young- holistic model:
i. Face is structurally encoded
ii. Face recognition unit
iii. Personal identity node
iv. Name generated
Disorders help provide insights into the processes involved:
Prosopagnosia- have an emotional feeling of recognition but no conscious
awareness of knowing the person
Capgras syndrome- experiences the delusion `doubles' have replaced the people
they know. Opposite to prosopagnosia.
Construction of likeness using composite systems-

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Early, paper based composite systems were no more useful than verbal descriptions
Computer based composite systems are more precise. The e-fit system removes the
problem of using separate feature to make a composite and instead, where there are
missing parts, the programme inserts an average component.…read more

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Suggests anxiety caused by exposure to a traumatic event can affect the accuracy of
eye-witness recall
Loftus- participants who were shown the violent video where a civilian was shot
made more errors recalling a critical item in the video as opposed to those who were
shown the non-violent version, suggesting high anxiety worsens recall
However, other evidence shows that witnesses of a real life incident had
remarkably accurate memories, even after 5 months on from the incident.…read more

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This is a vivid memory of an emotional event in our lives. Sharot investigated the role of the amygdala
in recall for the attack on the World Trade Centre. Participants who were closer to the attack showed
selective activation of the amygdala when recalling the attack but not other events. More distant
participants showed no differences.…read more


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